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A cost-benefit analysis of accessibility.

Author: Chollet, D.
Year: 1979
Type: Book


There are only a few studies which have tried to apply cost-benefit analysis to investments in accessibility. The first of its kind is the study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and carried out by Chollet (1979). It focuses on accessibility of a specified level, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard A117.1 of 1978. Cost comparisons between institutional and community living for older persons and people with disabilities are used to estimate the benefits of renovating existing buildings and removing architectural barriers. The analysis contains case studies of three types of residential structures: high rise apartments, garden apartments, and single-family homes. Only easily measurable economic costs and benefits accruing to disabled individuals are included. Cost estimates refer to bringing up the structures to the ANSI standard. The estimated benefits are the market value of personal assistance services that disabled persons are now able to provide for themselves due to the absence of architectural barriers. The findings are that in the instances studied, renovating housing without barriers yields benefits which amount to 13 to 22 times the level of the renovation costs. These overwhelmingly positive results, however, are due mainly to a decisive limitation of the study: the assumption was made that the renovated units would be rented to disabled tenants only. In that way the study avoids the difficult methodological issue of assessing the rate of utilization by disabled tenants but loses much of its value as an argument for universal access design. It assumes 100 per cent utilization, that is ghettos. Universal access design on the other hand, implies that a structure is made accessible regardless of who will move in and when. Universal means just that: all housing is to be built accessible as a principle.

Further Details

Pages 81
Publish Location Syracuse
Publisher U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Accession Number 20.11.02
Keywords North America, housing improvement, mobility, regulation compliance, universal, design

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